West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Random Thoughts On Friday

I do hope that everyone had a good Christmas out there!

Mine was very nice.

It was odd too, in that the weather has been great here in Kentucky. On Saturday, I did some driving and wore only a light flannel shirt. I took a jacket but did not need it. I like the good weather, but it is too sunny for the season!

You may be able to tell from the blog that I have an appreciation for postal history. Complain about it if you want, but our postal service does some amazing stuff.

I made a point this Christmas season to drive to some of the little post offices that have special postmarks for the holiday. I drove to Nazareth and Bethlehem in Kentucky, and I drove to the Indiana cities of Bethlehem and Santa Claus.

I will get some photos up from those trips soon, as driving to small out of the way towns is just a fun thing to do.

Each town was very cool, we talked to some great postmasters and I must make it back to Santa Claus and Bethlehem Kentucky. We passed through Hanover (Woody's home town on Cheers!) and Madison in Indiana. We have to make it back to these two towns. Madison looked like a good place to find a B & B and just walk around the downtown streets some weekend.

I talked to some friends the other day, and we decided that this was a Christmas of coincidences. One friend got a purse from one friend, and a matching pocket book from another friend, who did not know about the first friends gift. I had a similar coincidence on Christmas.

We went to my sister's house in Owensboro. It was good seeing family and all. We exchanged presents and I opened a small box from my sister. In the box I found a Billy Bob doll from Showbiz Pizza.

Showbiz Pizza is one of my retro indulgences. I loved the franchise and remember the very first time I went to one when I was very young. The place was so over the top. Showbiz had a cheesy mouse competitor that eventually won out, but Chuck was never as cool as a keyboard playing gorilla and a banjo playing bear. By the way, if you have any photos of the old Showbiz Pizza in Owensboro or Evansville PLEASE send me scans so I can put them up on this blog!

So- back to my Christmas coincidence. I almost purchased a Billy Bob doll the week before but decided to wait a little while. I am glad I did because of my sister's gift!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Buffalo Trace- Frankfort, KY

I guess I should mention up front that I don't drink. It is one of those things that I have personally never done.

I have had a few sips here and there. We once toured a historic home, and a wine tasting was part of the tour. I took a sip of whatever it was in my glass and it hurt! I was done at that moment.

I know it is very un-Kentuckian of me to say this, but I have had similar problems when trying bourbon.

Still, I think the whole Kentucky Bourbon experience is something to be proud of. The time, effort, and really the artistry that goes in to it is something very unique.

I am not one to have a small glass (or pint, or shot...... I have no idea how these things are measured) of the beverage but I do like Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Balls. Oh, and Keeneland serves a desert using Bourbon that I have to get each time I am there!

Still, even someone like me who does not consume alcohol can enjoy a tour of Buffalo Trace.

We have done several different tours of the facility in Frankfort, and we have enjoyed each one. There is a standard tour where you actually get to see bottles getting filled, capped, and packaged which is very cool.

Another tour they offer is the "Hard Hat" Tour. I know reservations are needed for this one, as they like to keep the groups small (about 6 were in our group when we took this one). This tour takes you through the production areas. We were also taken out on a balcony area over looking the main buildings!

Buffalo Trace offers a "Ghost Tour" too. I had no interest in taking that tour. JUST KIDDING! I will have a separate entry on that tour soon.

And, like the other bourbon tours in the area, all of the tours are free! They do have a gift shop, and I think it is always appropriate to patronize the gift shop after a free tour. There is no pressure too, but you will want at least a shirt or cap or something.

Buffalo Trace has some cool items in their gift shop. We bought some root beer that they offer non-drinkers at the tasting. Bourbon items exclusive to the gift shop can be found here. We picked up a bottle made with an uncirculated buffalo nickle for a friend in Michigan. It is signed, and can only be purchased at Buffalo Trace!

I have to mention each of our VERY memorable tour guides we have had at Buffalo Trace. Freddy, DW, and Shelley all seemed excited about Buffalo Trace, and gave all sorts of fun pieces of info. Their excitement about Buffalo Trace was infectious.

I really love how the product is made and aged. I learned about how early on, they would experiment with aging and barrels. Placement in the warehouses affects the product. The entire process is fascinating.

The fact that Buffalo Trace offers several different tours, AND has a Christmas light driving tour going on there this season, gives it a real edge.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, MI

I remember seeing signs for Bronner's in southern Indiana when I was growing up. I thought it odd that a place in Michigan would be advertising so far south!

I get it now though. Even if the VERY fun tourist town of Frankenmuth wasn't around, people would still travel out of their way to visit Bronner's.

Bronner's is a store open year round that sells Christmas stuff. Santa costumes, yard ornaments, and tons of tree decorations are easily found here.

From floor to ceiling, this place has anything you might want for Christmas decorating.

If you are making a trip to the area and you really want to see Bronner's, I would suggest allowing a half day, if not a whole day. You might even want to treat your visit the way you would treat a visit to a large museum. You are going to do a lot of walking and see a lot of stuff. You also might want to save your pennies before your visit.

We picked up several cool and unique ornaments. I was very excited to see the classic bigfoot ornament, and I could not pass him up. We also found some other fun ones.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ale-8-1 Bottling Winchester, KY

Once, I attended a sporting event in Lexington where a free six pack of Ale-8 was given to each ticket purchaser. I thought it was the greatest promotion ever!

Anyway, I love Ale-8. If you are not familiar with it, it is usually compared to ginger ale.

I guess that is the best comparison, but it is still very unique.

Most people think it tastes better from the bottle than from a can (I think this theory applies to all drinks myself, but especially Ale-8).

The beverage is very popular in my neck of the woods and I am glad that many locals support this Kentucky product.

The Ale-8-1 company does have a very nice factory tour! I went there on a recent Friday morning.

There was a short video about the company, and the history of the drink.

We were taken to the bottling area. it was very cool watching them fly through. Check out the photos!

The tour is actually short, but informative. I think this would be a very nice adventure for a kid, or someone with a short attention span.

They do have a nice display of old bottles and other products.

There is a very cool gift shop selling shirts, caps, and other Ale-8-1 products. I would say that their gift shop is more reasonably priced than many.

We had a great tour guide who gave everyone on the tour an Ale-8 and a book about Kentucky facts (I will get a review of that book up soon). The good folks at Ale-8 hooked me up with a very cool 2012 calendar too!

Thanks for being such a cool Kentucky company Ale-8-1!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Fashion Mall at Keystone- Indianapolis

I love this mall near Indianapolis. I know, I really like malls in general, but this one is just classy. My favorite place here is the art cinema, where they show some of the major releases, and some of the not so major ones. http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/indianapolis/keystoneartcinemab.htm

In my opinion, the shops here are very nice, and there are some fun independent places. There are two levels that are spread out kind of funky (to go from one end of the first level to the other end, you have to go through the food court on the second level).

I am always here around Christmas, and I have taken a photo of Santa several years in a row now! I love that guy!

There is a cool window area here too, where you can look out at a road that goes right under the food court area.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Meridian Street- Indianapolis Indiana

Here is a more recent postcard than the ones I usually post. I am guessing this one came out around the late 70s.

This area looks pretty much the same now.